Our second market of the week begins Tuesday. It’s a night market, 5:30 until dark on the Plaza here in Sonoma. Sonoma has a beautiful, very large, historic Plaza, with lots of mature trees shading the majority of the lush lawns, dotted with playgrounds and picnic tables. The market occupies a horseshoe of pavement on probably 1/8th of the Plaza every Tuesday night from May through October. Six months of free city parties, with varied music, things to buy and exceptional people watching. It’s become quite the city event, and in my opinion, pushed the importance of offering a place for farmers to sell their perishable wares, to the back burner in favor of stimulating every member of the town, somehow or other. If you don’t want music, there are face painters, barbeques, dancer, corn dogs, slurpees and oven-baked pizza. The place vibrates with energy.
Preparing for a second market changes everyone schedule. There are two or three picking/packing days instead of one, plus more planting to make sure we have enough of everything. And of course, there are two sales events, setting up the stand, getting everything onto tables, pricing, selling and packing it all up again. More banking, more payroll. The second market is a significant turning point in the season. And it looks like we are in good shape this year, despite the wet start.
The carrots are beginning to show a little color. Maybe Friday next week? Obviously pretty soon. And the peas are tall and lush, in full flower and there are a number of plantings so we should have them for more than a month. The lettuces are strong. Beautiful to see a row of arugula flowers in full bloom, sure sign of a healthy, diversified farm.
We had cardoon at the market Friday. I learned a lot about cardoon from our fantastically informed, interesting and educated customers. We will probably actually till in the cardoon and replace it with artichoke. They share the bottom of the “low field”, a tricky, rocky and difficult patch of the least-useful ground on the farm. It’s been subject to massive inputs over the 20 years and it is improving but it will certainly never be appropriate for lettuce!